The Lake Street Aesthetic
The best dive bar in New York City is a quiet, quaint, choice joint on 56th and 11th ave known as Terminal 5. No bull shit. Now yes, quiet, quaint, Terminal 5 is not. But on Saturday night, when the lights shined brightest on Rachael, Mike, Bridget and Mr.”McDuck” (the other Mike) – they managed to turn the big, three-level music venue into the livest speakeasy east of the Mississippi.
From the moment Rachael Price got her pipes revving, Terminal 5 was done. Lake Street Dive, going 10 years strong, have built up a sound that is flat out devastating if you’re not prepped for it. It teases with an underlying cool bluesy feel, that’s how it begins. Ms. Price starts innocently enough, almost as if she’s using a stalling technique to allow her powerful, vivacious voice time to fuel up. As that voice thing is happening, Bridget subtly slides in with some upright bass action, level-setting a tremendous energy and mood that is softly, unapologetically, without warning, drawing in the crowd, so by the time Mike and Mike jump in – they’ve not only hooked you – they own from the inside. The way Aretha, Ella and Etta’s crews used to do. And when you’ve reached a certain notch of helplessness, you dreamily realize – thousands of others are happily suffering right along with you. Welcome, you’ve now entered the Lake Street Dive.
In speaking with Rachael the other day, this is the stylishly, sexy, seedy world the band aims to create. And as all quality dive bands know, you need to throw people the ‘covers.’ Humans love what they know. And a set mixed of old and new songs kept people in the doors, as LSD (love writing that) stayed the course, pulling in our attention without us knowing. “Rabid Animal” set the party off, the title track to their LP “Bad Self Portraits” was nice enough. What really turned the tide though, was the band talking about “Do Something Wrong.” Saying (paraphrasing here), “You need to do a whole lot of good, so you can make some room to do the super bad stuff.” And with that, a packed Terminal 5 bar full of good times. Norm!
I spoke of covers and I meant it. As they got into “Bobby Tanqueray,” a fantastic song in it’s own right, LSD switched into a cover of Van Halen’s “Jump.” This is a soul, jazz powerhouse of a band (yes, a rock band too), doing a 180 and hitting you with a track that showcased Bridget playing the upright bass as if it were an electric guitar – Eddie would have lost his mind! Everyone else did! Not to be out done, Rachael and Mike tag teamed on a version of “Seventeen” that rocked our faces off, while Mr. McDuck’s trumpet play maintained the smoke and fire vibes throughout. Maybe it’s their jazz harmonies, or steady blend of 60’s Rock/R & B melodies and hot horn play that creates their unique explosion experience. Maybe it was the energy coming off the crowd, which is a element of each performance they feed off of. Whatever it was, a couple thousand New Yorkers would not shut up about it. God bless em.
A genuine encore featuring an amazing collaboration of “Love Hurts” with Parker Millsap, followed by a cover of Hall and Oates’s “Rich Girl” absolutely tore the roof off of the mother. Turn down for…yeah, you know. If you’re not familiar with Lake Street Dive, please, I urge you, hit the local record store. You’ll be glad you made the time, because live, they’re a highly functioning rambunctious bunch, looking to act good, be bad and have fun. Sounds about right.
Video | Elizabeth Ramirez
What About Me
Clear a Space
Look At What Mistake
Bad Self Portraits
Stop Your Crying
Do something wrong
Walking on Broken Glass (Annie Lennox cover)
Don’t Make Me Hold Your Hand
What I’m Doing Here
Bobby Tanqueray into “Jump” (Van Halen Cover) back to Bobby Tanqueray
You Go Down Smooth
Love Hurts (Nazareth cover, with Parker Millsap)
Rich Girl (Hall & Oates cover)